ST. LOUIS ( -- A year ago today, Missouri Governor Mike Parson came to St. Louis to announce the state's first confirmed coronavirus case; a now-21-year-old West County woman.

The woman was studying in Italy and returned to St. Louis on March 4, 2020. She was at Mercy Hospital by March 6, complaining of a fever and breathing issues. On March 7, Parson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced her positive result for COVID-19. 

[READ: Woman in St. Louis County is first to test positive for COVID-19 in Missouri]

Like the rest of the country, the contagious virus spread throughout Missouri and less than three weeks after the first case, Parson requested federal assistance in a major disaster declaration. At the time he said the pandemic is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the state and local governments.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a devastating effect on the state of Missouri, straining hospitals, healthcare facilities and nursing homes, businesses large and small, schools, and tens of thousands of Missourians who have been forced out of their jobs,” Parson said at the time.

[Tracking COVID-19: Breaking down cases in Missouri and Illinois]

Since then, St. Louis County reported 89,373 cases and 2,019 deaths. This averages to 244.8 cases and 5.5 deaths a day since March 7, 2020. Long-term care facilities were hit the hardest with severe complications from the virus, accounting for more than half of the county's deaths at 1,091.

Statewide, Missouri has reported more than 480,000 cases and at least 8,100 people have died. Missourians aged 18-24 account for the most cases at over 60,000, making up 12.5% of total cases. Almost half the Missourian's who died were people above 80.

Cases, deaths and hospitalizations in the St. Louis region and across the state hit record highs in November and December. Infections have drastically declined since then. For example, Missouri reported a total of 116,576 cases in November while February saw 18,627 cases. 

Three vaccines are currently approved in the United States; Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Missouri has fully vaccinated 528,271 people so far, or 8.6% of the population. St. Louis County held its first Johnson & Johnson vaccine event on Saturday.  

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